Former Faculty and Alumni

Arne Kalleberg

The next president of the American Sociological Association (2007–08) is a Brooklyn College graduate! Arne Kalleberg went to Stuyvesant High School and was an undergraduate in our department (1967–71), graduating magna cum laude. Professor Kalleberg is now an eminent sociologist of work and is professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His latest book is The Mismatched Worker Norton (New York, 2007).

Setsuko Matsunaga Nishi

Dr. Gould writes: "It is my great pleasure to inform you that Professor Emerita Setsuko Matsunaga Nishi, has been awarded the 2007 Life Time Achievement Award for the Association for Asian American Studies. The attached citation from the association provides a nice overview of Professor Nishi's truly historic career both in the academy and as an activist in many struggles for civil and human rights. Congratulations Professor Nishi!"

Setsuko Matsunaga Nishi, professor emerita of sociology at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center, is a beacon of community, professional and family achievement. Born in Los Angeles, she studied music at the University of Southern California before being incarcerated at Santa Anita Assembly Center. She was able to leave incarceration and enroll at Washington University, St. Louis, where she reported on local "resettlement" for the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study. Following graduation in 1944, she moved to Chicago, where she was hired at Parkway Community House, organizing community forums and began her long association with famed African American sociologist Horace Cayton. With his guidance, she played a key role in the establishment of the Chicago Resettlers Committee, now known as the Japanese American Service Committee. For the American Council on Race Relations, she wrote the classic pamphlet "Facts About Japanese Americans" (1946), and, with support from the Julius Rosenwald Fund, she and anthropologist William Caudill launched the interdisciplinary Japanese American Personality and Acculturation Study. Meanwhile, she was enrolled in sociology at University of Chicago, where she would ultimately receive her doctorate in 1963. Her dissertation, "Japanese American Achievement in Chicago: A Cultural Response to Degradation," is a notable contribution to the literature. In New York, Nishi was re-joined with Horace Cayton to produce "The Changing Scene" (1955), a study of churches and social welfare.

From 1965 until her retirement in 1999, Nishi was a professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Nishi taught the first courses on Asian American studies there and served as a mentor to a generation of scholars. During the postwar era, Nishi also worked on projects with her husband, the artist Ken Nishi, and raised five children. Nishi has been notable for her devotion to merging scholarly engagement with community involvement. As a senior fellow at the Metropolitan Applied Research Center, the noted think tank of the civil rights movement led by Drs. Kenneth B. Clark and Hylan Lewis, she collaborated in many studies, including methods and strategies for achieving school integration, minority drug use and abuse, institutionalized discrimination in foster care, and inequities in performance evaluation in corporate employment. She served for three decades on the New York State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, during which time she has championed the rights of all minorities against discrimination. More recently, she joined the delegation of Japanese Americans in New York, who met with Jewish community leaders to discuss the use of the term "concentration camps" at the museum's Ellis Island exhibition. She remains intensely active even after over 60 years of work, and she is currently principal investigator of the Japanese American Life Course Study, a large-scale investigation into the long-term effects on Japanese Americans of their wartime incarceration. Her community involvement in New York has also been exemplary. She was the founding president of the Asian American Federation of New York. She has won awards from the American Association of University Women and the Asian Pacific American Women's Leadership Institute, among others.

Sarah Cecilie Finkelstein

Sarah Cecilie Finkelstein attended Brooklyn College from 1994 to 2000, and the study of sociology attracted her with its broad perspectives on social issues. In classes like Social Problems and in her research and practicum classes, she gained valuable hands-on experience, which led her to become an activist for parentally abducted children and their families. Her college work also led her to media contacts which further expanded her range, and she credits her college years with turning into the activist and spokesperson she always wanted to be.

Victoria Lampado

Victoria Lampado graduated from Brooklyn College in 2005 with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology. She is currently the BSW Social Worker for The Village Senior Information Center sponsored by Village Care of New York, a well-recognized community-based not-for-profit organization serving older adults. She has been working with this organization in an effort to evaluate and engage seniors who have a variety of concrete and psychosocial problems. She provides the first line of social work intervention. Lampado was recently accepted into Columbia's Social Work program for the fall 2007 semester.

Edythe Mencher

Edythe Mencher, the former Edythe Held, graduated from Brooklyn College in January 1973 and received her MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work in 1975. She received a certificate in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy from the Westchester Center for the Study of Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis in 1989, M.A. in Hebrew arts and letters in 1998 (from Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion), and her Rabbinic Ordination from HUC-JIR in 1989. She is the associate director of the Department of Jewish Family Concerns for the Union for Reform Judaism, the umbrella organization for 900 synagogues in North America and in private psychotherapy practice in Larchmont, N.Y.

Steven Peter Vallas, Ph.D.

Steven Peter Vallas, Ph.D., chairs the department of sociology and anthropology at George Mason University.

Richard Caputo, Ph.D.

Richard Caputo, Ph.D., is professor of social policy & research director, Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare, Wurzweiler School of Social Work.

Yvette Schlussel

Yvette Schlussel graduated Brooklyn College cum laude, with a B.A. in sociology in 1977 and earned a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University in 1986. She currently teaches in the Departments of Family Practice and Surgery at New York Medical College, and is a consultant on studies of obesity and osteoporosis in the Nutritional Science Department at Rutgers University.

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